The Case of the Missing Messerschmitts
All melodrama aside, this is a real concern of mine. It is not often that I cannot find answers for questions I have, or that others ask me. But this is one such case.
We all know of the infamous Bf-109 series. Now, there is a point in the line where two versions disappear, or never existed in the first place. We start with the 109E. (Emil) After that, there is the 109F, and the mass-produced 109G. (Gustav) We know that the 109H was an abandoned high-altitude variant given to Blohm und Voss and called the BV 155. (I will cover that in a future writing.) Then, after the G, we are suddenly at the 109K.
Now, the Germans are meticulous record keepers, how could they miss, or skip, the 109I and the 109J? Were there ever two such designations? What were they? Failed prototypes? Secret programs that disappeared with the Third Reich in 1945? Why would the Germans skip two letters in their designations?
I have searched every resource available to me: Books, Libraries, my neighbour who knows a lot about WWII airpower, and the internet. The internet said simply: "No matches found".
Is there anyone out there who knows? I you are one who does, or know someone who is; e-mail me at: email@example.com. Include the answers of course! I will publish them with the author's name, (If given permission to do so.) immediately. Maybe the case of the Missing Messerschmitts will be answered. Maybe not.
The following has been reproduced from John Taylor's Combat Aircraft of the World without permission.
Hispano HA-1109 series
The Messerschmitt Bf109 was no stranger to Spanish skies, the country having seen the Bf 109B-2s and Bf l09Cs of the Condor Legion during the Civil War and having ordered the Bf 109E-l for itself a few years afterwards. From this experience the Spanish government decided in 1942 to negotiate a licence with Messerschmitt AG to build the Bf 109G-2 at the Hispano-Aviacion works at Seville. The licence was granted early in the following year and, to get things moving, 25 machines were to be sent by Germany to give the Spanish industry assembly experience, and its pilots flying experience of the type.
Although the airframes arrived, delivery of the engines was prevented by Allied air attack, and it became necessary for Hispano technicians to adapt the aircraft to accommodate a home-designed Hispano-Suiza engine instead. The first of these adaptations was flown on 2 March 1945, and this model was designated HA-1109-JlL. Performance was not fully up to expectations and the -J1L was retained in service for little more than a year, being withdrawn from use in July 1947.
A more satisfactory version emerged with the appearance of the HA-1109-KlL, utilizing the French Hispano--Suiza HS-12Z-59 engine of 1,300 hp. The first -K1L flew in May 1951, and up to 1954 about 200 fighter~bombers of this type were built for the Spanish Air Force; they were armed with a pair of wing-mounted machine-guns and underwing racks for four 80-mm Oerlikon air-to-ground rocket projectiles. The -K1L was a cleaner air-craft aerodynamically than the original Bf 109G and, according to the Spanish pilots who flew it; was also appreciably easier to handle.
In 1953 there appeared a further development of the fighter-bomber version. Designated HA-1109-MIL and named Buchon (Pigeon), this model was built in substantial quantities for the Spanish Air Force, its principal difference from the -K1L being the installation of a new power plant, the 1,400-hp Rolls-Royce Merlin 500-45, driving a four-blade Rotol propeller. The final fighter--bomber model was the HA-1112, generally similar to the HA-1109-K1L-M1L except that it carried twice the latter's quota of Oerlikon rockets, while the wing machine-guns were replaced by 20-mm Hispano HS-404 cannon. With completion of HA-1112-MIL deliveries, production the Spanish variants came to an end late in 1956. During the HA-1109's operational career, three tandem-seat, dual-control versions were also evolved operational training. Counterparts to the various fighter-bombers, as their designations imply, these were the Hispano-powered HA-1110-K1L and HA-1111-K1L (the latter having auxiliary wingtip fuel tanks), and the A-1110-MlL with Merlin engine.
The Answer to....The Case of the Missing Messerschmitts
I have received information about the two missing designations of the Me-109. As you may recall, I asked for information concerning the existence or non-existence of the 109I and 109J.
John Grafe of Ottawa, Canada writes:
I believe the RLM never gave the letter "I" designation to any aircraft - to avoid confusion with the numeral "1". This would account for there being no bf109I. As for the missing bf109J - the designation "J" was reserved for the Spanish Hispano built HA1109J - a clone of the 109G I believe.
I garnered this info from a book called "Warplanes of the Third Reich" by William Green. An extremely informative technical history of almost all aircraft designed in the period. Published in 1986 by Galahad Books - ISBN: 0-671-08160-8.
Thanks for all your interesting work....
Great to hear from you John! Thank you for the compliment too. The Missing Messerschmitt case is now solved.... Keep using Simviation.com for all your CFS and FS98 needs!